Left-wing opposition DSP in crisis over support for İmamoğlu in Istanbul revote

The vice chair of Turkey’s opposition Democratic Left Party (DSP) has resigned after the party announced that it would not be supporting the main opposition candidate in the Istanbul mayoral revote, left-wing news site Artı Gerçek reported on Saturday.

The resignation of Hikmet Sami Türk follows an announcement by the DSP on Sunday that it was withdrawing its candidate from the Istanbul mayoral revote, as the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) looks for support from opposition parties in the fresh vote in Istanbul.

CHP’s Ekrem İmamoğlu scored a narrow victory at the Istanbul polls against Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate on March 31, however, the country’s Supreme Election Council (YSK) on announced a cancellation and redo following a appeal by the AKP, citing fraud and irregularities at the ballot boxes. The rerun for the city of 16 million is set to take place on June 23rd. 

The leftist DSP leader Önder Aksakal earlier this week said despite abstaining from the mayoral race, his party would not be supporting CHP’s İmamoğlu, as widely believed.

"It saddens to resign from the party that I have been a member of for 24 years,’’ Türk said following the announcement, noting that two votes by the party for supporting İmamoğlu the matter had been ignored.

Meanwhile, DSP heavyweight Uluç Gürkan and the party’s Istanbul mayoral candidate Muammer Aydın have released statements calling to support CHP’s İmamoğlu.

DSP’s backing of the CHP candidate is considered important as the party’s candidate Aydın received 30, 817 votes in the March 31 mayoral race, much more than the 13,000-vote margin by which İmamoğlu won.

Meahwhile, Turkey's opposition Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party, which finished third in the Istanbul municipal elections, announced this week it would run in the Istanbul revote.

However, critics maintain Felicity Party's votes were likely to go the fellow Islamist AKP if it had decided not to run in the Istanbul revote.

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